Lawmakers must come together and enact meaningful health reform measures, or group health coverage could cost more than $28,000 per employee by 2019.

Analysts at Hewitt Associates L.L.C., Lincolnshire, Ill., issue that warning in a report commissioned by the Business Roundtable, Washington, a group that represents large U.S. employers.

Group health plan sponsors already spend more than $10,000 per employee on health coverage, the group says.

If current spending increases continue, “these runaway costs, combined with a $56 billion cost shift to payors from uncompensated care, would cripple the employer-based system that currently provides coverage for the majority of Americans and their families,” the Business Roundtable says in a comment on the report.

In addition, if members of Congress and other stakeholders fail to act, health care spending will eat up 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2019, up from about 15% today, the Business Roundtable warns.

“The status quo is not an option for American business, and meaningful reform must address the delivery system inefficiencies that are driving up health care costs,” the group says. “Expanding health insurance coverage is critically important, but simply adding more people to an ailing system and spending more money will only make the existing cost problems worse.”

Private individuals and private employers already spend more on health care than private individuals and employers in any other country in the world – and the U.S. government also spends substantially more per-capita on health care than any other country in the world, according to Hewitt analysts.

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